Monday, July 28, 2008

Us and Them -vs- US

Twice last week I was down in Inglewood covering the officer involved shooting of Kevin Wicks that happened early last Monday morning.

Really can't say I felt welcome either day, but that's not surprising. Just personally frustrating.

I live in Hawthorne, a city that borders Inglewood to the South and where I live, it isn't much different demographically or economically from Inglewood. I grew up mostly in Gardena, which is another Southbay city that probably has more in common with Inglewood than it does with other Southbay cities, such as Torrance and Redondo Beach.

If I'm in Inglewood outside of work, I normally feel at home. After all, this is where I grew up and this is the area where I've raised my family.

Too bad I'm a news photographer. There seems to be a dividing line and my job puts me always on the opposite side of the line that separates "Us" and "Them" when we actually talk to either "Us" or "Them".

The thing is, I'm a journalist and I'm not taking a side. Personal feelings might lead me to be sympathetic and I certainly like to think I'm compassionate about how I approach my assignments, but I'm doing my job and I have a pretty serious responsibility to cover the story to the best of my ability.

That doesn't make things easy for me or for the people who might already be experiencing grief and suffering.

Do I understand the meaning of the word, NO? Sure, but we still have to ask.

I appreciate the cooperation I get from those involved in the story, but that doesn't mean I'm taking a side. I'm getting a bit frustrated that people don't realize this. I mean, I could be on the verge of tears myself (it did hit me in the gut that the victim's photo reminded me of my brother who passed away last year), but that doesn't mean I'm going to do any less of a job in covering the story.

I can't stop rolling when the tough questions have to be asked. If there's a truth to be told, I only know how to get to it by asking people involved. That might come from friends and family or that might come from strangers who just happened to bear witness.

Maybe I'm kidding myself, but I can see the difference between the crush of paparazzi surrounding a hard partying celebutante and a group of reporters and photographers asking questions at a crime scene.

When I walk away, I'd like people to understand that no matter how difficult it is, I'm doing my job. We're going to question victims and we're going to question suspects.

It's not really funny, but pretty often we've done our job so well that everyone involved, both the "Us" and "Them" sides might agree on only one thing.

Everybody hates the media.

Well, okay almost everybody.
Blogged with the Flock Browser


turdpolisher said...

sounds like a tough week. glad you found that last picture to help you through it. hang in there bro.

beFrank said...

Just another day at the office.